Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Save Me From Myself

Once upon a time, about 1998, I began volunteering as an editor for The Rose & Thorn, an ezine that began on Jasmin Randick's, the original owner, AOL page. That was back in the days of dial-up and my own limited experience with websites and the Internet. I had a computer that I used mostly for work and writing. I still have the hard drive from that computer, but it has long since gone to the computer graveyard in my office closet, along with the many keyboards I have used to death, old hard drives, floppy disks, and other computer equipment. There is also a bit of ham radio equipment in that closet, like the blind key that an old friend made for me to help me learn Morse code. I found it's easier for me to learn by doing than just by memorizing. It helped me to pass my Morse code test with a good score when I went for my redo test and the final test for my current Amateur Extra license. So much knowledge, so little time, but that's another story altogether.

When the R&T (Rose & Thorn) became the sole property of the co-managing editor and finally decided to move from those AOL pages to world wide distribution of its own domain, I offered to take over as webmaster and redesigned the ezine. On the books, since I signed up for and owned the domain name, I was also co-owner of R&T. It was a sharp learning curve for me to code all those old pages, freshen the links and create new pages, but I succeeded in bring R&T to the Internet in its own domain. I redesigned the web pages and the whole look of the ezine and garnered quite a few awards during my tenure, a job which I gave up with some misgivings, in 2004 with the last edition I put together in Spring 2004.

R&T went on alone and got another redesign, using my basic templates, which I had left for the new webmaster, and he did me one better, cutting out all the stuff I originally dumped and was told to put back in. The R&T now inhabits a new URL and is called Rose and Thorn Journal in its own domain and is about to yet again move to the precipice over the abyss after the spring 2013 edition.

Ever since I found out the news I have been bothered by the demise of an ezine that has stood the test of time (and a few owners) and showcased some of the best and brightest fiction, commentary, poetry, and art of the 20th and 21st centuries. I was proud to be associated with R&T.

Last night, I woke in the middle of the night, voided, and went back to bed unable to sleep. The R&T was on my mind. Thoughts kept swirling around in my head and I knew that I had to make a serous attempt to save R&T. I knew if I didn't I would regret now and for a very long time to come. That's why, this morning, I emailed the current owners and asked if they would be willing to hand over the reins -- to me. A part of me is still screaming, "NO! NO! NO!" and a part of me feels like now I could sleep, except that I have about 2 hours until I have to start work, so no joy now, but maybe tonight.

Taking over as owner and managing editor (again, but this time for real) is terrifying and exhilarating. I can delegate much of the work but I would like to add a new twist to the combination of art and story/poetry by enticing artists to lend their work to the words and work with the poets and writers. Many of the writers have been nominated and won Pushcart prizes and I'd like to see at least one, and preferably more, winners of the Pulitzer and a few other prizes awarded for the talented writers and poets that are showcased on Rose and Thorn. It's a lot of work, but I know it's worth it.

Okay, I'm out of my mind. As if I don't have enough on my plate right now. Some things need to be preserved and R and T is one of them. I can probably coax, cajole, and coerce much of the staff to remain. They don't want to see the end of Rose and Thorn either. Cross your fingers, not for my impending and incipient insanity, but for R and T to rise from the ashes once again -- new, brighter, and better than ever.

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